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Interview: Ashleigh Rey
[gallery type="slideshow" link="none" size="full" ids="133450"] What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today? I think a few things got me into music... one of those things being that it was something I couldn't escape. No matter what else I tried to do, music always found a way back into my life. I think I kept falling in love with music over and over again. First it started as a love for performing when I was young, Then when I was a teenager it was a love for writing songs as a means of self-expression. Then once I started producing those songs it was a love for seeing my words become music. Every day I fall in love with something new, and that's why I do it. It's always different and it's always new. If I wasn't doing music... I would either be working in another creative field like photography or film... or I would be pursuing my career as a ghost hunter... That is obviously a joke. Or is it? What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity? Full disclosure, when I'm not making music I'm either watching true crime documentaries or playing Dungeons and Dragons. Okay, don't get me wrong I have other interests, but these are the two things I am simply obsessed with. I think it's the escapist nature of both. True crime provides an escape to a reality that you could never imagine... and DND is similar. In terms of the creative influence both of these have on me, I think they both have different effects on how and what I create. I think my tendency to be fascinated by all things macabre, like true crime, can be seen in the nature of my songs and the imagery I use. DND, on the other hand, does not necessarily show itself in my writing, but it does allow me to work that same creative muscle. I find most RPG games to be an amazing way to exercise my desire to tell stories. AND I get to pretend to use magic and be an elf. What more could a girl want? How long has music been your career? Truth be told, less than a year, and even now I still have side-hustles, but my hope is to transition to full time by the end of the year. Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music? I am based out of Chicago but I'm originally from Dallas, and both of these cities have impacted my music tremendously. I recently moved to Chicago from Dallas for the second time and moving back reignited my drive and motivation to write music. However, Dallas and more broadly Texas will always have a veiled influence on my music. Whether it's a fiddle, a rhythm guitar, or imagery of the wild west, Texas always manages to find a way into my music. Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played. Oh gosh... Let's start with the best. The best show I ever played was the summer after my senior year when I was able to play to a sold-out house in Dallas. I did musical theatre productions for years and this particular show was a show that really pushed me vocally. My personal life was also a mess at the time and everything was kind of working against me... but somehow I found it in me to overcome all that. It was one of my proudest moments. Now, the WORST show. Oh damn. There are some bad ones, but without getting too specific the worst show was when just one guy kept buying me drinks during my set. Like, I'm totally cool with someone buying me A drink. But four? In less than an hour? Please just add to my tip jar instead... Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already? Currently, one of my favorite venues to play is a small locally owned place in Dallas called Eight11. It has an amazing vibe, a patio outside (where the stage is located), and is perfect for a singer-songwriter. A venue I have not played already? Uhm, am I allowed to say Madison Square Garden? But in all seriousness, I'd love to either play Hotel Cafe in LA or Subterranean in Chicago. If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket Oh, that's fun. Hm. The dream would be to play a festival like Lollapalooza or Austin City Limits where I'd get to play on the same stage as: HAIM, The Band Camino, Maggie Rogers, and Phoebe Bridgers. What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music? Oh, you mean me? I'm kidding. I would say, to myself and to others, you know more than you think, you are capable of more than you know and you do not believe the voices in your head that say you can't. Which are all very flowery grandiose ways of saying, if you want it, do it, know it will be hard, but if you can't do anything else, do it. If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be? I would go back and tell the 15-year-old me to practice her guitar more. Seriously, girl, you're going to need those calluses. Of your songs which one means the most to you and why? There's a song I haven't released yet called "Out West" and I started writing it about three years ago when I was at the lowest point of my life. I started writing the song about longing to escape, to ride off into the sunset, and never be seen again. I finished the song a couple of months ago and it shifted into being a song of recovery and return, and that was incredibly therapeutic. To see a song that was once about running away to become a song about running home has been one of my favorite writing experiences. I can't wait to release that song. Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most? I haven't released enough music to begin to receive requests for my own music, but a favorite song of mine to perform would have to be "Synthetic Serotonin," which I released in January. The song I get requested the most is any and all Taylor Swift and of course, Jolene by Dolly Parton.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
I think the creative process is always moving and changing, which is what I find so exciting about writing music. Usually, though, my songs are born out of personal experience and then fictionalized. However, sometimes I'm inspired by film, television, or novels... Or inspiration could come in the form of something I see on the street, or on the bus or at a bar. Sometimes life is more interesting than anything I could fabricate in my head.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I think a "message" I'd like people to hear is that sometimes life is hard and crazy, but there are still people who have gone through what you're going through or went through. As soft as it may sound, "You're not alone."
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
Oh of course. I usually do a preliminary collaboration with other artists to see if we're compatible. Kind of like a first date. This usually helps me avoid that uncomfortable disconnect further down the road.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I've got another single coming sometime in July and then my first full-length album in the Fall! In the words of Kate Hudson from Almost Famous, "It's all happening!"
Spotify Artist Link: https://open.spotify.com/artist/41iLxe2KFUFHM0BcbIc5hS?si=GHQQySVYT-e93s5DLn5kyA